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Rachmaninov: Piano Concerto No.2 / Tchaikovsky: Piano Concerto No.1

Rachmaninov: Piano Concerto No.2 / Tchaikovsky: Piano Concerto No.1

1 Jan 1995
4.7 out of 5 stars 30 customer reviews

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  • Sample this album
    Title by Artist
    0:00 / 0:00
1
11:13
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2
11:54
Album Only
3
11:39
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4
22:08
Album Only
5
6:55
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6
7:06
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Product details

  • Original Release Date: 1 Jan. 1995
  • Release Date: 4 April 1995
  • Label: Decca (UMO)
  • Copyright: (C) 1995 Deutsche Grammophon GmbH, Berlin
  • Record Company Required Metadata: Music file metadata contains unique purchase identifier. Learn more.
  • Total Length: 1:10:55
  • Genres:
  • ASIN: B001N5DPYE
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars 30 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 39,799 in Albums (See Top 100 in Albums)
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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This is a very strange, but mesmerising, performance of the Tchaikovsky concerto. It is as if the performers had never heard the piece before in their lives, and are therefore thinking their way through it and discovering it for themselves. Some of it is very slow, and the pauses (for emphasis, or simply reflecting on an especially beautiful phrase) sometimes seem exaggerated. Yet I found myself hanging on every note, simply because, instead of barnstorming their way on this weathered old war-horse, both conductor and soloist seem utterly determined to discover the inner meaning of the music. In other words, it is the thinking man's (and woman's!) performance.

But, as other reviewers have already noted, one really buys this disc for the incredible, committed performance of the Rachmaninov. The slow movement is 'to die for' and, although I possess other interpretations of this piece (including the excellent version by Ashkenazy), I am beginning to doubt whether I shall ever listen to them again. Richter here is at his very best: demonic and poetic by turns (compare his never-to-be bettered performances of the two Liszt concertos, with Kondrashin and the LSO); but his contribution is easily matched by that of the Warsaw Philharmonic under Wislocki, even though these are scarcely household names in this country. Even allowing for my reservations about the Tchaikovsky, I could not possibly rate this CD at less than 5 stars. Buy it *now*, before it disappears from the lists again, possibly for ever.
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Format: Audio CD
Richter was the great Russian secret who's fame grew to big for Russia to contain him. Listening to this recording makes one wonder if great artists like exist today. I purchased this disc by chance a number of years ago and I have to say, if like myself, you thought you very perfectly happy with your Ashkenazy / Rachmaninov no.2, then you really are missing out on a great deal by not owning this disc. If you are in any doubt then compare the final few minutes with your favorite recording and I guarantee (just like the first reviewers piano teacher) it will move you to tears. Anything else by comparison pails into insignificance. Incidentally, the Rachmaninov dates from 1959 and the Tchaikovsky from 1963 and the sound quality on both is first class. The Tchaikovsky is adequate, but buy it for the Rachmaninov.
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Ok these are rather old recordings but whilst they may not have the richness of modern productions they are perfectly acceptable. What you want is the pianism and in the Rachmaninov he is simply sublime. If you've heard other versions, and surely you will have, then this will open your eyes to a much deeper understanding of the music. It is a very moving performance.

I know others don't like the Tchaikovsky as much but I think it is a very interesting interpretation and well worth listening to.
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This now vintage is rightly considered legendary, but there are a few valid reasons for not assessing it a top choice, starting with the rather wiry, clattery sound, which emerges as somewhat congested even after a supposed remastering and remains rather hissy and distant compared with Byron Janis' recording of No. 2 on Mercury or Van Cliburn on RCA/Sony. Secondly, the Warsaw orchestra is not top rank: there are some sour, ill-tuned sounds from the woodwind and little sheen on strings which sometimes sound rather wavery. Thirdly, despite the attractiveness of the coupling - with superior conducting and orchestral playing from Karajan and the VSO - more people will want both of Rachmaninov's most popular piano concertos on one issue, rather than this pairing.

However, the contrast between the gung-ho aggression of the Polish recording and the comparative subtlety and refinement of the Vienna one makes for an interesting comparison. Richter is all strength, power and attack in the former, typically majestic and forceful, whereas he and Karajan are more restrained and lyrical in the Tchaikovsky, rather than opting for the usual "give-it-all-you've-got" approach; it is also recorded in somewhat better, richer sound than the Rachmaninov.

I cannot allow the reservations to influence the worth of both recordings; both are obviously five-star tours de force - and we need to be grateful for any studio recordings by Richter, given his later, increasing antipathy to the medium but it's not my first choice.
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I bought the cd most and for all for the second piano concerto of Rachmaninov. This was the first interpretation (recording) on vinyl record I had of the concerto and for me it still remains the best interpretation ever. All though Richter does not seem to be the most romantic, he gives an honest lecture of the score : romantic but not bombastic. A pitty, that the recording dates from 1959, where the circumstances for stereo recording were far from ideal, you can hear it in the orchestra part, where the dynamic is limited. But this is irrelevant to the wonderful interpretation of both parties (piano and orchestra).

The Tchaikovsky recording is one of the many : not bad, but not exceptional.

Nevertheless the combination of both pieces is extraordinary, having Richter's interpretation of two of the most important piano concertos of music literature..
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